As Halloween approached I began looking for cool ideas that I could do for my party and like many others I turned to Pinterest for my inspiration. I scrolled through pages and pages of scary ice cubes, cobweb cookies and dips that resembled something that is long past it’s sell by date. One item that caught my eye was a Bowl of Worms which was basically jelly that was set in straws and coloured to look like a worm.
This item had cropped up for a few years and I finally decided to give it a try, I mean how hard could it be after all?
The recipe that I saw was from the USA, the only change I had to make was the amount of water that went into the jelly. So the items I used were:
- 1 pack of straws (preferably the flexible ones as they give the ‘worm’ pattern when stretched out)
- an empty container to set the jelly in (I used an empty milk carton)
- 1 pack of raspberry jelly (135g)
- 1 packet of unflavoured gelatin (12g sachet)
- 180ml of double cream
- 1/2 pint boiling water
- 1/2 pint of cold water
- green food coloring (I used around 3 tsps )
Next I made the jelly, a trick I learned a few years back was to only use half the hot water required then once the jelly is dissolved add the remaining water but as cold as you can, this helps cool down the mixture and speeding up the setting process.
If the hot water cools too quickly you can pop the jelly mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds to heat it back up. I dissolved both the jelly cubes and sachet in the same bowl, in hindsight I should have dissolved them separately as the gelatin sachet became a little lumpy and was difficult to completely dissolve.
I allowed the mixture to completely cool then I added the cream and stirred it in
Next I added green food colouring, I estimate that in total I added around 3 teaspoons but this amount will depend on what brand you have. I’ve noticed that different brands of food coloring have different strengths, some you may only need one drop and others you might have to use half the bottle.
Next I had to pour the mixture into the carton full of straws, I emptied the jelly mix into a jug and filled up the carton, managing to spill the mixture all over the kitchen counter (if anyone knows of a magic jug that pours perfectly, I’m listening). Now it was time to wait……
I left it to set for 24 hours just to be 100% sure it was ready…..and now for the messy part. The easiest way to get the straws out was to cut the carton open, as you can see a lot of the jelly managed to squeeze down the sides and in the middle of the straws.
I’d read many different techniques on how best to get the jelly out of the straws. One suggestion was to run them under warm water and they should just come right out but the water turned my worms into mush. Another tip was to use a rolling pin to roll them out but this only worked if you did one straw at a time…..
The quickest and easiest way I found was to squeeze and run my fingers down the straw one at a time, it took quite a while to get all of the worms out but this was (what I considered) the most efficient way to squeeze them out.
So the final verdict: this is a fun activity to make with the children on a cold October afternoon but if you’re making them specifically as a snack for a Halloween party save your time and spend your money on a pack of proper jelly worms (they’ll taste better too). The DIY worms won’t withstand people going in and out of the bowl to grab some and within minutes you’ll be left with a bowl of pink mush. I had considered adding more powdered gelatin to firm them up but I doubt I’d have been able to squeeze them out of the straws at all.
These certainly looked the part at my Halloween party but due to their delicate nature and bland taste I just kept them to the side to look spooky.
Here’s the step by step video on how I made them.